Exsúltet jam Angélica turba cœlórum...

Today is Holy Saturday, and there is no Mass celebrated anywhere in the world, for the Lord has died and is descended into the depths of Hell. Of course, the hour at which the Great Vigil of the Pasch is celebrated... varies. It is has begun just after 1500 at Saint-Eugène; here, it will at 1900, I believe. It formerly was begun even before midday, which seems faintly ridiculous to most people today but wasn't, really; but am not getting into that this morning. Am only going to note the more significant moments of this Mass. 

Am happy to see the 'trident', the 'reed in which are fixed three wax tapers', lit from the fire, newly-kindled, outside the church that is then used, inside the church, to light the Paschal Candle. It isn't mentioned in the libellum (here) so I had been apprehensive that its use was to be abandoned. 

While the mid-afternoon hour does provide a certain visibility in the church building that would be otherwise missing in the night, there is enough shadow to serve passably as 'darkness': this will be illumined by the Paschal Candle and the people's candles lit therefrom quite dramatically. Lumen Christi!

... O mira circa nos tuæ pietátis dignátio ! O inæstimábilis diléctio caritátis : ut servum redímeres, Fílium tradidísti !

O certe necessárium Adæ peccátum, quod Christi morte delétum est ! O felix culpa, quæ talem ac tantum méruit habére Redemptórem !

O vere beáta nox, quæ sola méruit scire tempus et horam, in qua Christus ab ínferis resurréxit ! Hæc nox est, de qua scriptum est : Et nox sicut dies illuminábitur : Et nox illuminátio mea in delíciis meis...

The deacon is now putting the five grains of incense (that are shaped like little arrowheads, perhaps) into the Paschal Candle. And now the Candle is lit and the people's are being lit.

I probably ought to have mentioned the apis mater, which is always a delightful moment in the Exsultet, taking us back to Vergil and the old bucolic traditions of Rome.

Now the twelve lessons although at Saint-E. they are evidently only singing four. Certainly, in the Pauline Rite the celebrant is allowed to choose to proclaim less than the entire complement of lessons provided in the Missal and presumably in the Ioannes XXIII arrangements this facility is permitted also. 

The first is from Genesis, recounting the history of Creation. The second is from Exodus 14, the history of the parting of the Red Sea to enable the escape of the Jews from Pharaoh. The third is from the fourth chapter of the Prophet Isaias (which I think is the eighth in the actual series of twelve), and the fourth from Deuteronomy 31, the actual eleventh. The lessons from the Prophets Ezechiel, Baruch, Jonas and Daniel have been omitted, tsk. They have maintained the proper Tracts and orations with their lessons, at least. 

After the Prophecies are completed, ahem, the priests and catechumens proceed to the baptismal font. The Tract Sicut cervus is particularly lovely.

Tractus. Sicut cervus desidérat ad fontes aquárum: ita desidérat ánima mea ad te, Deus. V/. Sitívit ánima mea ad Deum vivum: quando véniam, et apparébo ante fáciem Dei? V/. Fuérunt mihi lachrymæ meæ panes die ac nocte, dum dícitur mihi per síngulos dies: Ubi est Deus tuus?


Once at the font, the celebrant blesses the waters, quite fulsomely, and mixes the sacred Chrism into them; the ritual includes the triple 'drowning' of the Paschal Candle in the waters. 

... Réspice, Dómine, in fáciem Ecclésiæ tuæ, et multíplica in ea regeneratiónes tuas, qui grátiæ tuæ affluéntis ímpetu lætíficas civitátem tuam: fontémque baptísmatis áperis toto orbe terrárum géntibus innovándis: ut tuæ majestátis império, sumat Unigéniti tui grátiam de Spíritu Sancto....

Unde benedíco te, creatúra aquæ, per Deum + vivum, per Deum + verum, per Deum + sanctum: per Deum, qui te in princípio verbo separávit ab árida: cujus Spíritus super te ferebátur. Qui te de paradísi fonte manáre fecit, et in quátuor flumínibus totam terram rigáre præcépit. Qui te in desérto amáram, suavitáte índita fecit esse potábilem, et sitiénti pópulo de petra prodúxit. Benedíco te et per Jesum Christum Fílium ejus únicum, Dóminum nostrum: qui te in Cana Galilææ signo admirábili, sua poténtia convértit in vinum. Qui pédibus super te ambulávit: et a Joánne in Jordáne in te baptizátus est. Qui te una cum sánguine de látere suo prodúxit: et discípulis suis jussit, ut credéntes baptizaréntur in te, dicens: Ite, docéte omnes gentes, baptizántes eos in nómine Patris et Fíliis, et Spíritus Sancti....

The video recording of the Paschal Vigil. Oh, well, it is 'up' at YouTube but won't yet appear in the search facility that's available here at Blogger. 

Am interested to hear who catechumens are-- it's hard to tell even their number in the crowded space of the baptistery. Sophie, Colleen, Louis, Jeanne-Marie, Julie, Victoria, and Vincent.

Whatever is happening now is not described in the libellum-- perhaps it is the conferring of the Sacrament of Confirmation; which is certainly the ordinary practice when baptising adults. Hmm; not sure why this isn't described in the libellum, however. In the Traditional Rite of course Confirmation is conferred by a bishop; the circumstances when it may have been conferred via delegation by a simple priest, I have no idea. While I have confessed using the Traditional Rite a number of times, that exhausts my direct familiarity with the sacramental practice thereof.   

The hymn Tibi laus perennis Auctor of Saint Venantius Fortunatus (c 535- c 601), bishop of Poitiers, was sung, in any case. It was composed to accompany the procession from the font to the altar; this morning, it accompanied the unknown rite, ha.

Tibi laus perennis, Auctor,
Baptísmatis Sacrator,
Qui sorte passionis
Das præmium salútis.

Nox clara plus et alma
Quam luna, sol et astra,
Quæ luminum coronæ
Reddis diem per umbram.

Dulcis, sacrata, blanda,
Electa, pura, pulchra,
Sudans honore mella,
Rigans odore chrisma.

In qua Redémptor orbis
De morte vivus exit :
Et quos catena vinxit
Sepultus ille solvit.

Quam apéruit Christus
Ad géntium salútem :
Cujus salubri cura
Redit novata plasma.

Accedite ergo digni
Ad grátiam lavacri :
Quo fonte recreati,
Refúlgeatis, agni.

Hic gurges est, fideles,
Purgans liquore mentes :
Dum rore corpus sudat
Peccáta tergit unda.

Gaudete candidati,
Electa vasa regni :
In morte consepulti,
Christi fide renáti. Amen

The Litany is now being sung; each invocation is doubled i.e. sung by the chanters and repeated by the Schola and people, due to the solemnity of the day. Dr Ratovondrahety and the Schola laid on a bit of solemn emphasis as Saint Cecilia was named in the Litany; I don't recall that having been done in previous years. 

Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Messe pour le Samedy de Pasques (H 8) is ahead i.e. the Kyrie and Gloria follow the Litany. The bells will ring in joy, and the lights of the church will be lit, as the Gloria begins. As the Litany nears its conclusion, the purple veils of Passiontide are removed and the altar is clothed. The ministers departed the sanctuary in order to put on the proper white-and-gold vestments and have returned for the prayers at the foot of the altar. 

The Kyrie is splendid; I listened to this yesterday and the Schola's performance is definitely as fine as whatever recording I heard. The Gloria has begun. Splendid indeed, and it has the advantage of being fairly brief.

I see that the entire Mass takes less than ten minutes to perform.


Deus, qui hanc sacratíssimam noctem glória Dóminicæ Resurrectiónis illústras: consérva in nova famíliæ tuæ progénie adoptiónis spíritum, quem dedísti; ut córpore et mente renováti, puram tibi exhíbeant servitútem. Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum.

The Alleluia is intoned by the celebrant three times, each time in a higher tone, before being repeated by the Schola and people; its verse is Confitémini Dómino, quóniam bonus: quóniam in sæculum misericórdia ejus.

It is followed by the Tract Laudate Dominum

Laudáte Dóminum, omnes gentes: et collaudáte eum, omnes pópuli. V/. Quóniam confirmáta est super nos misericórdia ejus: et véritas Dómini manet in ætérnum.

Before M le Curé's homily, Dr Ratovondrahety performed a brief passage from what is evidently a French Easter favorite, the 'Hail, the Conquering Hero' from Handel's Judas Maccabaeus. Every year, this surprises me, ha. There is, after the Gospel, neither Credo nor antiphona ad Offertorium. The organ, violin, and cello will perform variations on O filii et filiae

At Communion, the First Ode of the Paschal Canon of Saint John Damascène (8th century) will be sung in a setting by Maxime Kovalevsky (1903-1988). 

Surrexit Christus ex mortuis, alleluia.

Resurrectionis dies:
splendescamus, populi,
Pascha Domini, Pascha.
E morte enim ad vitam,
et de terra ad cœlum,
Christus Deus nos traduxit, victoriam canentes.

Agite potionem bibamus novam,
Non ex saxo sterili prodigiose eductam,
Sed incorruptionis fontem
e sepulchro pluente Christo,
In quo solidata est.

Nunc omnia repleta sunt lumine,
Cœlumque et terra et terrestria :
Ferietur autem omnis creatura
suscitationem Christi,
In quo solidata est.

Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper,
Et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Surrexit Christus ex mortuis,
per mortem mortem vicit,
his qui in tumulis erant
vitam donavit. Alleluia.

And then follows the Paschal Vespers, a very special form of the Hour indeed: Psalm 116 and the Magnificat with its antiphon, and the oration. 

At the Last Gospel, the Regina caeli makes its festive re-appearance, preceded by Charpentier's Symphonie (H 509).

At the procession de sortie, the O Filii et Filiae preceded by Charpentier's Symphonie (H 511).

Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia!